Student Union Hosts Coat Drive for Students and New Yorkers

The Student Union organized a coat for students to donate and pick up winter coats.

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By David Paul

The Student Union (SU) recently organized a coat drive for students to donate or pick up winter coats. The first part of the drive was held from November 15 to November 17, when students were able to donate their coats on the first floor behind the security desk. The second part of the drive was held from November 20 to November 22, during which any student who needed a coat could pick one up at no cost. All leftover coats were donated to New York Cares, a nonprofit charity organization.

As winter approaches, the SU hopes to give students the opportunity to give back to their community by helping others to stay warm amidst the harsh weather. “New York winters are notoriously rough,” senior and SU Chief of Staff Shira Galai said in an e-mail interview. “We wanted to act as an intermediary between those who might have extra jackets lying around their house without use and those who might be in need of a new one.”

Furthermore, the inspiration for the coat drive came from SU President Amanda Cissé’s personal experience of not having a winter coat. “It was getting to be winter time and I didn’t get a coat until it was really cold,” Cissé said. “I was thinking of other people who might be in the same situation, and I thought that [the SU] could do a coat drive.”

The SU took several measures to ensure that the student body was well aware of the drive to increase the number of coats being donated. “We sent school-wide [e-mails], put up posters, and announced the coat drive to the entire school on the morning announcements each day that it was going on,” Galai said.

To prevent donated coats from getting lost and potentially going to waste, members of the SU remained actively involved in the drive. “We figured out an organization to donate to if we had any remaining coats,” Cissé said. “Each day after school, we would bring the coats up to the SU room and bring them back down so [that] they wouldn’t just be left there overnight.”

While organizing the coat drive, the SU emphasized student privacy to ensure that people felt comfortable taking what they needed. “Anonymity was important for us to preserve. The first floor is more isolated than the other floors, which allows people to give or take jackets more freely and without embarrassment,” Galai said.

The coat drive not only served those within the school community but also contributed to the comfort of New Yorkers outside of Stuyvesant, as remaining coats were sent to the organization New York Cares. “[New York Cares aims] to collect 100,000 coats this year and distribute them to New Yorkers who need them. Their coat drive has been running for 34 years and counting, and they have collected and distributed 2.5 million winter coats to date,” Galai said.

Overall, the SU felt that the drive was successful, with around 30 to 40 coats being donated to the drive in total and many students able to receive them. “We definitely got a lot of coats, people have been taking the coats, and even if we don’t get rid of all the coats we have raised, we still donate [them] to [New York Cares],” Cissé said.